“EXCITING” and “definitely new” is how Eliza T. Pendergast described the latest trend sweeping the denim market. Like many of her Gen-Z peers, Ms. Pendergast, a student at Hamilton College in upstate New York, decries skinny jeans. She associates those constricting pants with the peppy stars of Disney shows she loathed as a kid. These new jeans, though, are different. They have a “much better silhouette,” said Ms. Pendergast, 19. They lend her outfits a symmetry that makes her feel “balanced.” They don’t compress her calves. They’re flares.
Yes, flares, the trumpeted jeans (also called boot-cuts or bell-bottoms) that populated 1960s protests; hid ’70s platform heels; and rode low on hips circa Y2K. “Obviously they’ve been around,” said Ms. Pendergast, who sat out their last incarnation on account of being a toddler. “To me,” she clarified, “they’re a new thing.”